15 Tips for Building Stronger University Relationships

During a previous AgCareers.com event, employers and university personnel came together to discuss factors that both enhance and damage relationships between Employers & Universities. During the discussion, ideas were shared concerning how employers and universities can work together to enhance student career development. As employers learned more about university career services and ways to interact with students, many suggestions were shared. If you are looking for ways to increase your campus brand and build relationships with university faculty, try implementing some of these ideas or suggesting them to partners at the schools that you work with.

  1. Host informal pizza parties for recruiters and interested students. It is usually easier to talk in a relaxed environment.
  2. Participate in summer programs geared toward high school students. Employer involvement, from contributing to the planning and programs, to helping with funding, is a positive way to get students interested, especially those without any background in agriculture.
  3. Stop by Career Services offices to visit, take the director/administrator out to lunch, and keep connected via email throughout the year instead of just at Career Fairs.
  4. Ask career services for access to a database of juniors (for internships) and graduating seniors (for full-time hires) and their respective resumes far in advance of the Career Fair.
  5. Suggest venues for industry-specific recruiting - i.e. host a day on campus specifically for swine producers.
  6. Inquire about evidence/facts/info that will help you focus on sending meaningful messages when meeting with students. (what is important to the student, what are they looking for, what will drive their decisions).
  7. Look for meaningful opportunities to be on campus beyond Career Fairs. Ask about a calendar of events and look for opportunities to host, sponsor, or participate in, far in advance.
  8. Connect with professor's who may be interested in having you talk to a class. Classes that usually have these types of opportunities are career connections, senior seminars, or freshmen orientations.
  9. Encourage Professor's to incorporate real-life learning and project-based experiences into their coursework, like ride-a-longs with a sales rep. This promotes student exposure to the employers and vice versa.
  10. Work with related companies in the industry to build programs structured for Career Development. Go beyond an internship to include soft skills, communication, motivation, managing a business, etc.
  11. Stay in contact with Universities throughout the year.
  12. Build relationships with universities that have a career service staff and faculty who show a strong desire to work with employers.
  13. When consulting with university partners, promote the idea that the primary goal of a solid education is to allow the students to achieve better careers.
  14. When communicating with career services and faculty, express your desire to give presentations, or get involved with students in class, info sessions, question and answer panels, labs, clubs and organizations.
  15. Suggest to administrators that it be mandatory for professors attend Career Fairs and have their students attend also. Have it count as a grade, but be creative….. don’t just require students to collect business cards or retrieve a signature.

To see a list of upcoming campus career events check out our Career Fair section at http://www.agcareers.com/careerfairs.cfm.

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